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Strike hits hospital services; hunger strike starts tomorrow

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, May 13 (UNI) Services in 5 premier government hospitals of the capital remained affected for the second day today as junior and resident doctors boycotted work against the Government move to reserve 27 per cent seats for OBCs in centres of higher learning.

Students agitating against the quota, meanwhile, said they will start an indefinite hunger strike at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences tomorrow morning.

Many resident doctors also were expected to join the hunger strike, Amitasha Sinha of Lady Hardinge Medical College said. ''We decided on the step also because of the police action on protesting students in Mumbai,'' she said.

Senior doctors, who also have threatened to join the agitation soon, were seen manning emergency units of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, the Safdarjang, Guru Tegh Bahadur, Maulana Azad and the Lok Nayak Jaiprakash Narain Hospitals.

The strike was in response to a call from the Indian Medical Association. The IMA has also called a ''medical bandh'' in Delhi on Monday.

Hundreds of medical students clashed with police yesterday as they tried to march towards the Prime Minister's North Block office in protest against the Government proposal.

The students say the reservation move is anti-merit and would push back India's development.

Meanwhile, the All India Minorities Front has demanded arrest of the striking doctors. In separate letters to the Prime Minister and the Delhi Chief Minister, Front President S M Asif also said that the Government should invoke the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) and dismiss striking doctors for conduct unbecoming of public servants.

Public money spent on their education and training should be recovered from the doctors, he said.

The Arakshan Samarthak Morcha Convenor Udit Raj too deplored the strike and appealed to doctors belonging to OBC, dalit and minority communities not to join the strike called by the IMA.

The Central Executive Committee of the All India Backward and Minority Communities Employees Federation (BAMCEF) also strongly backed the government's reservation proposal.

In a statement, the BAMCEF said it has decided to organise symposiums in 74 districts of the country tomorrow to create awareness on the need for reservation to the backward classes.

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